As self-professed earthly representatives of God, pastors must be held to a higher standard.
The adulterous affair between the founder and General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministries Apostle Johnson Suleman and 23-year old Canadian-based singer Stephanie Otobo has become news staple for many days, so much that it needs no retelling.
One of the great epidemics of the Christian Church today is adultery. The plague of sexual immorality has made Christianity a mockery. These days, people feel Christians, and particularly pastors, are nothing more than heathens who go to church on Sunday to socialize. Pastor scandals have been happening for a long time. It's not new. The Christian world is full of such reports. Since the beginning of Christianity, pastoral failings stretch as far back as Christian history. The Bible is replete with such stories. Sex and adultery show the so called “men of God” as big-time hypocrites. The call to priesthood is more than having the oratorical gift, sugar-coated tongue, and the persuasive marketing skills of a salesman. It is as much as about thoughts and temptations. Adultery is one of those temptations.
Adultery is like a fire that can and in fact consumes the clergy as well as the parishioner. However, there is a higher bar set for pastors and church leaders. As self-professed earthly representatives of God, pastors must be held to a higher standard. Some people feel adultery among the “men of God” is treated with levity and approval because the sin of adultery doesn't attract the degree of sorrow and shame from the pastor-offenders.
Apostle Suleman is like the rest of us. He's human. He's frail and fragile. He's not the only one who indulges in sex or adultery. Pastors are not different in make or in value, but in responsibility and expectation. Being a pastor attracts a higher level of criticism because of the higher standard expected of them. Many pastors believe they are above criticisms by quoting verses in the Bible that says you cannot touch the “anointed.” These pastor-hypocrites believe that disagreeing with them means disagreeing with God.
What are the implications of Apostle Suleman's alleged adulterous affairs?
Spiritually, his alleged adultery means Apostle Suleman has chosen Satan over Jesus, death over life, and hell over heaven. It is impossible to be an adulterer and a pastor or “man of God” at the same time. They are mutually exclusive.
Other ministers who are not involved in adultery are tainted by being in the same profession as Apostle Suleman. The pastor's victim or victims have been wounded and their families have paid a price. The guilt from the act will haunt Suleman the rest of his life. His congregants will doubt and question and invariably find out whether he was “called by God' or by men and what he really believes. Those who believed in him and supported him feel betrayed. People whom he was trying to reach for Christ now have a convenient excuse to fall away. His family is wounded, perhaps irreparably. Atheists and others hostile to the Christian faith have a field day. In the future, his ministry is more limited – a miniature version of what it used to be and what it could have been.
Apostle Suleman's enemies will take his sin gleefully: “Oooh, he was so righteous! But look what he's doing. He's worse than us!” His influence over his congregation will be slim to none. His humiliation will be severe. The shame will be a heavy burden to bear.
Now what for Apostle Suleman?
Like all Christians, Apostle Suleman struggles with sin. The sin of adultery disqualifies a pastor from his role of spiritual overseer of his ministry. Suleman needs the correction and accountability of his congregation. He needs clear speech, direction, and repentance not sentimental sweets or braggadocio. The ball is in the court of Apostle Suleman. Let him come out of his closet today like his accuser Otobo did, and confirm or deny the accusation of adultery. Truth is the greatest disinfectant!
You can reach Bayo at [email protected].